Chloe Wise | Profile
Can you talk us through your work?
I’m a multimedia artist, so I focus on painting, sculpture, drawing, video. At the moment I’m focusing on painting but it takes different forms; right now I’m doing a series of oil paintings of groups of my friends. I’ve been taking photos of them and then creating paintings that are large scale group portraits of them. These friends reappear in my video practice as well. Throughout the painting, drawing, sculpture and video practice, my work will delve into themes of consumerism, group dynamics, hierarchies and feminism. This is the overarching theme throughout everything, but it takes a lot of different forms.
Do you have the image in your head before you go into it? How does your process work?
With this particular series, I had some ideas going into it. I had a really messy mood board with notes in different places like ‘hug,’ ‘wince,’ ‘hand on back.’ These poses happen in a weird natural/ unnatural way because I’m making people pose together in a way that is reminiscent of that forced feeling of having to pose in a group photo, whether it’s for a yearbook or for a passport photo. In that moment I’m staging the performance of that within my studio. Awkward moments happen and from there I choose what would compositionally be the most fruitful. So, in short, I take photos and then I make videos that compliment the photo to painting.
What was the creative skill that got you started in the beginning?
Ever since I was 3, I’ve always been drawing and painting. I would stay in during recess at school to paint and draw, I’d play with oil pastels and sit and do entire paintings. I was always supported by my parents and encouraged to keep drawing because it was something I was clearly obsessed with doing and fascinated by. There was no other option.
What is it about you that turned your passion into a successful business?
The obsessive and overachieving part of me is what allows me to turn something that I’m really in love with doing, that could be a hobby, into a business-like model. Mostly because if you paint 18 hours a day there’s not much room for anything else. Committing to something so fully creates this space where, since there’s no other option, you’re so dedicated that it becomes something that you propel forward. Having that commitment and that belief in yourself will inevitably make this passion a larger thing rather than if you treat it as a hobby.
Do you ever find that, because you are so successful in creating art, the pressure can sometimes be too much and miss being able to create art just for fun?
When you’re starting to see the positive outcome of the work that you’re doing, that grew from your sheer love of creation and has now become something you rely on as a living, there’s a point where you take into account other people’s opinions or the constrictions that the gallery places on you. If you’re a painter, or any other artist where you mostly work in your own head, at some point you’ll be facing those questions. I think it’s really important to not focus on what you’re supposed to be doing for the benefit of your bank account or for other people that are trying to guide your process. You need to tune into the aspect that started you on that journey to begin with. With the show that I’m working on at the moment, I’ve been focussing on what I want to do, taking a step away from the path that I’d previously been so committed to. It feels really liberating.
What’s your favourite feature to paint?
I love painting hands because they’re the hardest to paint and I’m a show off.
Do you work on multiple paintings at a time?
I only work on one, smash it and then it’s over. I paint really intensely, so I’ll paint for 5-7 days until I’m done. I won’t do anything, see anyone or leave the studio until it’s done, it’s so hard to remove my hand from the thing it’s glued to. I start and I can’t stop, and when I’m done I can’t go back.
So you never go back?
Not usually. But, because this series is evolving over the course of it’s creation, I’ve noticed that certain things would be more complimentary of each other if I go back in and add a colour or add a fabric. I’ve actually gone back in which is rare.
When you come to exhibit, will you do touch ups?
I don’t think so. I think everything will ship out when it’s perfectly ready to go. Once it’s varnished I can’t go back in, that’s it.
What do you want to learn for the future that will help your success grow?
For the future I think it would be really beneficial to my career if I could learn how to train Pluto, my cat, to do choreographed dancing. I think that would really strengthen my video career as well as my street cred, and just my overall motherhood.